What’s happening here?

by Matthew Cobb

This photo by R Fontaine (aka @Tenfon2 on Tw*tter) contains a complex set of interactions, involving two kingdoms and two classes, with two orders within one of those classes, and two genera or perhaps species within the other. Your task is to describe them. You don’t need to use fancy latin names, but there will be extra marks for those who do. My answer will be posted at noon Chicago time.

DShwr19X0AAgL_G.jpg-large

15 Comments

  1. Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Ooh, I know this one! But I will sit on my hands.

  2. W.Benson
    Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Bee, spider, bug, flower. Oh my, oh my, what is going on?

  3. Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Crab spider killing a honey bee.

    • Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      OK, I didn’t read beyond the headline.

      The spider is using mimicry to the flower on the plant to deceive the bee (hide and attack).

      There appears to be a smaller arthropod on the back of the spider (photo IQ makes this hard to tell) and I would assume that critter is either passing from bee to spider or vice versa (for parasitism? moving house? find food?) or from the plant to one or other of the other two arthropods.

      Obviously I don’t really know. 🙂

      • Posted January 3, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        I wonder if it is a male of the same species trying to take the opportunity to mate?

        • Thanny
          Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Pretty sure that’s what’s going on.

          White crab spider snacking on a bee, while a male crab spider goes for the sacrifice-free mating session.

          • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            You’re missing an arthropod… – MC

            • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

              Missing an arthropod? Two spiders (might be male and female of same species). Bee, and…?
              Could it be the little hump on the bees’ abdomen? I was wondering about that.

              • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

                If that is it, then Strepsipteran — twisted winged parasite.

            • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

              Is there a mite on the back of the bee?

              /@

              • Bill Morrison
                Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

                That could be a varroa mite
                attached between sternites of the abdomen of the honey bee.

              • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                That makes a bit more sense than a Strepsisteran. Those would likely deform the abdomen of the bee. 👍

              • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

                Might bee a bee mite!

      • Posted January 3, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        OK, downloading and enlarging the photo, the brown critter on the back of the white crab spider appears to be another crab spider — maybe scavenging from the white spider’s meal? Maybe preying on the mite(s) on the bee?

        I think I see a parasite on the back of the bee’s abdomen. This is hard to tell from the photo IQ.


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